Ireland leads in value of imports to Oregon

This appeared in the most recent edition of the Portland Business Journal:

While international exports are a well-known economic driver and matter of pride for Oregon, Oregon also imports from abroad a substantial volume of goods, largely to supply the same manufacturers and growers producing the cherished exports.

In a surprise move, the tiny Republic of Ireland has climbed from No. 8 last year to No. 1 this year with imports to the state valued at $3 billion, a 425 percent increase. Now that’s a lot of Guinness —or more likely, a lot of processors and controllers for electronic integrated circuits, the state’s No. 1 product, representing 19 percent of import value and 30 percent of export value last year.

Annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival 2017

on site.

The All-Ireland Cultural Society thanks the following businesses and members for their financial and in-kind support of the 76th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

Mr. Tom Kelly and the Neil Kelly Company

Owen Roe Winery

Ceilí of the Valley in Salem

Carrie Dixon and O’Hara’s Irish Beers

Bob’s Red Mill

Gemma Whalen and the Corrib Theatre

American Automobile Association

Columbia Chapter of the Belleek Society

Carlow Brewing and O’Hara’s beer

Dulin’s in Vancouver

Fiorano Ristorante in Tualatin

T.C. O’Leary’s Irish Pub

Oregon Garden Resort

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Paddy’s Bar and Grill

Pittock Mansion

Raven and Rose Restaurant

Red Star Tavern, downtown Portland

Ringside Grill

Spaghetti Factory

Sayler’s Steak House

Mr. Joe Schiwek

Rick Bolme and Sue Jordan

Jack Crowley

Sylvester DeBray

Margaret Doherty

Peggy Doherty

Shannon Doherty

Wanda Huff

Kathleen Hudert

Brendan Kerg

Helen and Paul Lyons

Louise Martell

Mary Rose Mulligan

Rose Ann and Tony Ranft

Sheila Redman

Mary Sacksteder and Larry McKinley

Christine and Kevin Seed

Colleen Spiering

Debbie Timmins

The All-Ireland Cultural Society is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. This is the only fundraiser of the year which supports the Society’s mission of promoting Irish culture, music, education and social activities.

Weekly traditional Irish Ceili class – Tir Eoghain

Irish Ceili (Kay – Lee) Community Dance Class – Folk

Portland, OR – Weekly drop-in classes
Every Tuesday evening, 7:30-9:30pm
St. Therese Multi-Purpose Center, 1260 NE 132nd Ave, Portland, OR 97230
$3 – $5 sliding per person per evening

Don’t be bashful, there are new folks almost every week! You do not need to be Irish to learn something new! Only $3-$5 (what you can afford). Class is from 7:30-9:30pm every Tuesday night. Come have fun and get active while reducing stress and having fun! Don’t stress that you don’t know how to dance because every week there are beginners like you attending. And don’t worry if you are experienced, plenty of challenging dances for you too!
The Tir Eoghain (Tyrone) Irish Dance & Ceili (kay-lee) class is where it happens! We are celebrating 38 years teaching this great cultural event that is not only good for your spirit but also your health to the community! It is a self supporting cultural event. Try it and dance a jig, leap to reels, have more fun on St. Patrick’s Day and meet new friends!
Come drop-in every Tuesday night for this class that has been ongoing since 1978! 13 & older. Bring your water bottle, wear comfortable clothing and a pair of dance shoes or sneakers.

The Tír Eoghain group started in 1978 with Brother Eugene from Co. Tyrone, Ireland (hence the name Tír Eoghain, the Gaelic spelling of Tyrone) and Mary Rose Kerg of the All-Ireland Social Club which is now the All-Ireland Cultural Society of Oregon.

Brother Eugene had the drive and expertise to teach traditional Irish dance here in the Portland area and Mary Rose assisted in the organization of such.

The dances we do are primarily Céilí (KAY-LEE). They are group, social dances that are from Ireland. Kind of a cross between contra and a square dance.


The Harp, Ireland, and Irish Harp Music by Felicity Dyall

The Harp, Ireland, and Irish Harp Music

Felicity Dyall


The harp or lyre is one of the earliest instruments in human history, following the voice, percussion, flutes or panpipes, and drums. It was developed from the hunting bow through the realization that a string under tension produces a particular pitch. This type of stringed instrument is depicted as early as 3000 BC in Egyptian paintings.

Around 1500 BC, ancient art depicts an instrument built of two pieces: a sound box, and an angled arm with gut or leather strings wrapped around it. This instrument traveled from Asia to the Middle East, where it became a common instrument in the Holy Land. The harp is mentioned over 66 times in Biblical text. The words ‘arpa’ and ‘lyra’ were first used interchangeably, but harp came to mean the triangular instrument, while a lyre was more squarely shaped. Similarly, the gaelic word ‘cruit’ came to mean lyre, while ‘cláirseach’ meant harp.

The earliest distinctly Celtic people emerged from the Indo-European side of the Mediterranean Sea around 1000 BC, and migrated west and north across Europe. They brought the triangular harp with them to Ireland, adding a pillar (first depicted on an 8th century stone cross), which allowed for more tension and greater numbers of strings. Likely due to the influence of Viking skills in metallurgy, the strings on Irish harps were made out of metal, resulting in greater volume, longer sustained tone, and a magical bell-like sound. The strings were wrapped around pegs, which were twisted by a special wrench called a harp key to tune them into the chromatic scales needed for different tunes. The oldest Irish harp, dating back to the 14th century, sports a curved pillar with 34-36 metal strings. It is known as the Brian Boru Harp, as it was attributed to the famous historical figure Brian Boru, who leveraged control of Viking port towns to wrest the High Kingship of Ireland from the O’Neill clan in 1002, until the harp’s actual age was measured through modern dating methods.

The skill of the Irish on their harps was highly praised by foreigners, and Irish harpers were of high value in the gaelic-speaking aristocratic society that existed through the 16th century in Ireland. Every chieftain, or Taoiseach, had a poet and a harper, who with music could evoke emotions of joy, grief, or sleep in the audience. Harps at this time rested on the left shoulder and the strings were played with the fingernails. Music was enriched with simple harmony and intricate ornamentation that wove around the melody. A significant number of harpers were blind, as it was the best opportunity for a blind child to contribute in that society.

Over the course of the century from 1600 to 1700, the balance of power shifted to the English-speaking Anglo-Irish. Without their gaelic lords, the harpers became traveling minstrels and teachers. One famous Irish harper, Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738), lived during this time of transition, and his musical compositions show both the old style as well as European styles that became popular at the time. Harps in this period gained levers that gave the ability to change the pitch of a string, reducing the need for tuning between each piece.

As the Anglo-Irish gentry became more accomplished harp players, their willingness to support the wandering minstrels waned. By the end of the 18th century, the tradition of the old harpers had all but died out. In an attempt to preserve the old style of harping, Doctor James MacDonnell organized the Belfast Harp Festival in 1792, which invited traditional harpers to compete and have their music recorded. Eleven harpers were in attendance, and their music was published by Edward Bunting as piano arrangements in three books named “The Ancient Music of Ireland.” Ten years later, only two of the harpers remained. This was the end of the age of the harpers.

Harp music in Ireland continued in the 19th century in a new form, played by the sophisticated ladies of upper class society. Women played and sang airs, many of which were old songs with new English lyrics, and accompanied themselves on the harp, which was placed on the right shoulder with both knees to one side. Music was learned from books, rather than being passed down by oral tradition. The harp was considered feminine and a representation of Ireland herself, and thus became a tool of nationalism. Simply by playing the tune of a rebel song, Irish ladies could inspire a political spirit from the safety of the drawing room. A pedal harp maker, John Egan, capitalized on the nationalism of the era and in 1824 advertised a smaller, levered harp with gut strings. The idea caught on, and the neo-Irish or folk harp is still popular today, although many now use nylon string material.

All this while, Irish traditional music had developed among the working class on a totally separate trajectory from harp music, shaped by Irish dance and the commonly available instruments such as fiddle, flute, and later, accordion. In contrast to the slow songs and airs played on the harp, “trad” music was quick, lively, and rhythmic for dancers. The technique necessary to play such tunes on the harp was not developed until the 1970s.

In modern times, Irish harp is used in Celtic ensembles, solo, and as accompaniment to voice. It is still used as a symbol of Ireland, and its magical sound evokes the mythical past. The history of the harp in Scotland followed a similar path, and many Scottish songs and tunes are played in Ireland, and vice versa. All in all, the harp tradition developed by the Celtic peoples continues to flourish alongside classical repertoire in the harp world today.





“History of the Harp.” International Harp Museum, International Harp Museum, 2009,

“History of the Harp.” The World of the Harp,, 2016,

“History of the Harp” and “The Irish Contribution.” The Harp Foundation, The Harp Foundation, 2013,

Harbison, Janet. “A History Lesson.” Traditional Irish Harp Tutor Level 4. Castleconnell, Co. Limerick: Irish Harp Centre, 2011. 4-5. Print.

Ní Fhuartháin, Méabh. “Irish Harping Tradition.” Traditional Irish Music and Dance, National University of Ireland Galway, 5 July 2016, NUIG, Galway.

Tommy McCarthy Family in Concert

Come join and meet THE McCARTHY FAMILY live in the Wee Ceili Room in Tualatin! $20 gets you a concert, potluck and party! All seats are reserved. Email to do so. Social starts at 7pm and the concert and party will go until????????
An exciting evening of Irish Music with The McCarthy Family! A multigenerational quartet playing both traditional Irish ballads and original works, The McCarthy Family captivates audiences with their incredible talent and passionate playing. The Boston-based band is well-known at home and has also traveled the world with their music. The band features Tommy McCarthy, Jr. on fiddle, his wife Louise Costello on banjo and button accordion, daughter Rose on fiddle, and nephew Peadear on Uilleann pipes and whistle.

Irsih PDX Annual Food Drive Results

Thanks to all that donated goods for the Annual Food Drive for the Tualatin Schoolhouse Food Pantry. We again, because of you, have beaten the prior year donation. A net total of 708#s were donated today!


food bank 2015